Cassie Williams

Cassie Williams photo

One of sixteen children born to Saul and Emma (Jimerson) Terrell, Cassie Lee entered the world on June 5, 1929. York, Alabama served as her earthly home, both with her parents and later with her Aunt Mamie Mobley; her heart, however, longed to travel to distant places—not just Mobile, Birmingham, or even Ohio though each would nurture her for a time. She dreamed, as a child, of other countries, scouring over the pages of the World Atlas stretched out on her tummy on the floor. God blessed. She married, bore children, settled in Ohio, and travelled over the course of years to the Bahamas, Canada, Egypt, Mexico, Greece, S. Africa, and numerous other places. Nevertheless, her true journey was always toward her heavenly home, and that trek she completed on September 8, 2023.

Called Sister Cassie, Aunt Cat, Madea, Mommy, and Mrs. Willams—the woman was remarkable. Her colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family knew wherever she was, wherever they found her, they were guaranteed safety, shelter, a warm embrace, a tissue for tears, a compassionate ear for life’s sorrows, and godly wisdom. She was a safe harbor. If you could just get to her, you knew you would be fed, sheltered, protected.

Sister Cassie’s legacy is one of resilience, activism, grace, and dedication to family and community. As a trailblazer in the childcare industry, she founded the Maple Tree Family Daycare, nurturing and educating countless young minds and young parents, for she found that more than the children needed her guidance and care.

She advocated for mothers on the local level—serving as an OSU-trained nutritionist, visiting and instructing the homes of families with young children. In her partnership with Action for Children, she advocated for healthcare coverage for Home Daycare Providers, eventually receiving a summons to Washington, D.C. to testify on behalf of the needs of mothers, the poor, and the young—first, as the President of the Franklin County Day Care Association and, later, as the National President of the Day Care Association.

Her leadership was not bound by her entrepreneurial spirit though it motivated her to open a consignment shop, the Empty Closet Boutique, and inspire others to think about their own potential. The needs of her communities often compelled her to reach for higher summits. She led as a member of Kiwanis Club, National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, and First Church of God Usher Board; she led as the President of the Gladstone Elementary PTA, as the President of the Joy Heirs, and as Commissioner of the Greater Linden Area; she led humbly as a cook at the York (Alabama) Hospital when she was fifteen and as a movie theater manager in Mobile when she was seventeen. She even “led” in one of her misdeeds when she was caught shoplifting by security from the Ladies Department. When Mr. Lazarus asked why she had been returning to his store daily and removing skirts without paying, she boldly replied that she was dressing for job interviews. Kindly, he pardoned her.

Sister Cassie understood what was required to be successful. She understood the power of service and humility, so she mentored young women, teaching them the importance of etiquette through the non-profit organization she founded, Rosebud Girls. In addition, she fought for the South Linden community—collaborating closely with Mr. Clarence Lumpkin, speaking at Columbus City Council, and serving the St. Stephens Community Center. Her giving spirit provided her the means for meeting two U.S. Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. These encounters demonstrated the national recognition she garnered for her unwavering commitment to the communities she served and the local love and honor she received for representing so well.

Sister Cassie was preceded in death by her parents, Saul Terrell and Emma Terrell Pearson; husband, Ebb Williams; son, Kirk Terrell, and daughters, Dr. Browder Coates and Jocelyn Renee Harrison.

She is survived by her sons, Melvin (Lori) Harrison, Stan Harrison, Anthony (Lillian) Harrison, and Phillip (Loretta) Harrison, her daughters Ericka Williams-Holloway and Monique Williams, her son-in-law Ezzard Coates and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Charmel Burton Carter

    Condolences to the family

  2. Victoria Wilder Crews

    To the family of Sis Cassie Williams, Praying for you during your time of bereavement. Sis Cassie was a phenomenal woman who was loved by all. I remember both her wisdom and her wit. We served together on both the First Church of God Day Care and City of Refuge Early Childcare Center boards. She loved inspiring children to dream big and often. Rest in Him, Sister Cassie but don’t crown Him until I get there.

  3. Now the True Journey Has Begun……Be Well and Peace Forevermore…..

  4. I don’t know how many times I have tried to write these few words! I will miss you and your many lessons and blessings you have given me over 45 years! You will always be in my heart! Yes, Madea you have your golden tipped wings! To the family missing a parent is never easy. Know that my heart is mourning too! My condolences to all!. She will forever be missed but not forgotten! Always Ava

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